Palworld, the recent survival monster-collecting game from Japanese developer Pocket Pair, has been accused for allegedly using AI to generate its monsters in addition to plagiarising Pokemon. The game recently launched in early access on Steam and Xbox Game Pass to enormous success, selling over 2 million units in 24 hours. However, it has since been at the centre of a controversy regarding the developer’s past use of generative AI and its striking similarities to Pokemon‘s monster designs.
Palworld‘s social media discussions this weekend were a mix of celebration for its explosive popularity and allegations of AI usage and plagiarism. While the survival gameplay is closer in DNA to Ark and Rust than Pokemon, the game’s monster designs were highlighted for being eerily similar to Nintendo’s franchise.
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Many Twitter/X users began pointing out how Palworld‘s monster designs appear as if they took existing Pokemon designs, put them in a blender and remixed the colour schemes. This is only made worse by developer Pocket Pair’s history with using generative AI tools in its previous games. One of its past games is called AI: Art Imposter, where the core mechanic of the game is an AI image generator. However, there’s no concrete evidence that Pocket Pair used AI to generate its monsters (called ‘Pals’) in Palworld, so it’s all being chalked up to speculation.
since I’m bored as hell, I’m gonna be making a thread of this i think… Palworld design analysis trying to spot every pokemon they jumbled together pic.twitter.com/Ch9jcx5hCI
— onion_mu (@onion_mu) January 18, 2024
Digging deeper, a 2022 Twitter/X post from Pocket Pair’s CEO also revealed a discussion about how generative AI will one day be sophisticated enough to avoid copyright issues. Unfortunately, there aren’t any strict laws or regulations regarding AI usage yet, though it’s possible that accusations of plagiarism might stand should the matter be taken further.
Pocket Pair recently published a blog post explaining that Palworld‘s 100 character concepts and designs were created by a single graduate student. “She was a new graduate and had applied to nearly 100 companies, but failed them all,” reads the blog post. “And she is now drawing most of the characters in Palworld.”
Source: Video Games Chronicle